On the First Anniversary of Your Death, the Letter You Never Read

Posted January 31, 2017 by wisetrout
Categories: words

Responding to your (hurtful) reply when I asked if you wanted me to come see you, about a month before your death.

I do hope you will be able to read this with an open heart and an open mind, for it is sent with love.

In 1976, I was five. I have no memory of my parents married or together. Certainly, your own choices, actions and in-actions have guided or influenced me as much as any of my mother’s have.

I take responsibility for myself, for the choices I’ve made. If I’ve hurt you. I am sorry. I have not been intentionally hurtful–rather, trying to navigate given my own limitations. I make choices which are heavily influenced by two Bible verses and by my own standards of how I can live (with myself) in this crazy world.

Psalm 19:14 “May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer” (Learned that at Delta Lake camp when I was 12)

Romans 12:18 “In as much as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone” (became really aware of this while learning how to manage my depression as an adult)

A part of your legacy (and my mother’s) is a commitment I made to myself during my sister’s funeral. I had just filed for divorce and he and I were in a volatile place. We had resorted to only communicating via email and avoided being in each other’s presence when the kids were around because it had gotten ugly. At the funeral, I was sitting in the second row on the left, facing the front of the room. He and our oldest son were sitting behind me–this man, with whom I had not had a kind moment for quite a while, had his left arm around my shoulders, holding me and leaning his head on my right shoulder while he held our son to us both with his right arm. I’ll never forget this gesture. I’ll never forget turning my head to the right–seeing my mother down the row from me, lost in her own grief. Then way, way, way across the room and down the row, seeing a glimpse of you, lost in your own grief. I thought “God forbid something were to happen to one of my children, their father would be the first person I’d go to, would be the person I’d share that experience with.” I felt very sad that you and mom could barely acknowledge, let alone comfort one another.

This became a foundational moment, a cornerstone for how I moved through my divorce and eventually, how I fostered a new relationship as a co-parent. It also guided how I accepted and encouraged my children’s step-mother. I remember thinking “in 30 years, this divorce and all of the heartache we’re going through now will simply be a part of the story. I will not carry bitterness” Not that that doesn’t require daily practice sometimes more than others–just that it is a fundamental part of my parenting. I was able to heal and to purposefully live into Romans 12:18 as best I can. I hope this has benefited our children in the way I believe it has.

I’m sad that you don’t seem to have been able to find similar peace. Sure, you’ve moved on and created your own life, new relationships… but you seem bitter and that makes me sad for you. It has certainly impacted our relationship and the choices made.

I tell you this perhaps so that you might see some of my perspective and remember that for a long time, my perspective was one of a confused and wounded child!

I also tell you this so that you will know that I hold no resentment toward you. I hold no current pain for the little girl I once was. I have forgiven myself, learned to love myself and do hope that perhaps you will forgive me if that is needed, as well.

My most sincere hope, though, is that you will know freedom in understanding that I have also forgiven you. Perhaps all will be released back to God–it is not mine to carry (nor yours).

I will think of you–whenever I see deer or when I’m in my kayak on quiet water. I will think of you when my oldest learns to fly or when we discover some connection of genealogy together. (Remember that his name was inspired by our find that Griffin Craft was our first ancestor from Britain. He came over on the Arabella with Winthrop’s fleet and was a founding father of Roxbury, MA. He made rope and was a surveyor. I always thought it was interesting that his son, John, married a woman named Susanna White. You and I dug all of that up at the library in Portsmouth when you visited, just before I found out I was expecting my first child.)

I will think of you and I will remember to live in peace. I will hope the same for you.  



A Glimpse Within

Posted June 28, 2015 by wisetrout
Categories: words

It is this beautiful boy’s 18th birthday today. I celebrate him now, as ever.

Wisetrout's Blog

My child is filthy.  His clothes hang disheveled, covered with mud and soot.  I can smell him from several feet away.  His face and hands are nearly black.  His shins are covered with blood from bug bites and brambles, sweat drips from under his baseball hat.  He’s smiling as I walk toward him. 

I ask him about his day.  I expect to hear about building camp in the woods, about making a fire without matches, about whittling a bowl from a log.  He is a Forest Scout and this is his first day of Earth Skills camp.  On other such days, he’s talked of juniper tea and eating roadkill.  He has built himself a shelter of branches and snow and spent a February night there.  He has talked of hiking to the middle of the Maine woods with only a compass and some cryptic directions back to the path: left at…

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Posted November 19, 2013 by wisetrout
Categories: words

Tags: ,

For Fred

You don’t say yessah to a woman who writes

prose like a dance

Message and method makes you fumble

You can say wanna because it’s spontaneous

And she’ll dance on the beach

with You

under a full moon, remembering

the promise of unseen choices


When anything was possible

until neither of you remembers words

And the magic of the moment becomes a still reminder

Of the miles yet to go

You and me

Posted July 22, 2012 by wisetrout
Categories: poems, words

Tags: ,

Euphoria ebbs
like Magic
until it becomes
which I
cannot describe

Me, with my words
stunned but
not silent

It’s like the ocean
It’s like gardening barefoot
It’s like skipping stones
It’s like music
It’s like writing

I don’t understand
I know

All is right with the world
Heart overflowing

Me, here
with You


Posted July 20, 2012 by wisetrout
Categories: poems


(Winter, 2012)

The geese are gone now.
It’s colder here on this bench than it ever has been.
I know if I don’t leave soon, I will face my fear in dark woods.
There will be no moonlight tonight.

I have already been to the depths of my own horrors–
it is why I can stand witness to another with compassion, empathy
tenderness; a balm.
Only recently did I discover how to treat my own wounds with that kind of care.
They rise to the surface whenever fear edges out truth.
Rape, violence, silence. Depression. Anxiety, suicide, loss and loss and loss…

Yet I remain astounded by the resiliency of love.

A gentle touch, a deep breath.
The kiss of truth–longing to see and to be seen and loved anyway.
Rejoicing in poignant and precious present.

The river before me, frozen now and covered with snow.
For a moment, I consider that it would only be a split second in eternity–
panic before cold wins. Succumbing to the ice.
The current would allow nothing but surrender.
This frozen river, with its still, snowy facade, reads my mind.
Ice cracks with audible force…if only to remind me that underneath,
the tide still flows.

Yet I remain, astounded by the resiliency of love.


Posted September 6, 2011 by wisetrout
Categories: words

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“Sometimes, if you’re too strong, you can’t be stretchy and if you’re too stretchy, you can’t be strong” –a wise yogi said this today as she prompted me to forget the shape of my body and just breathe. She was talking about my physical self, but I actually laughed when I realized she’d articulated a truth I’d been dancing around for a while.

I’m raw. Tired, vulnerable, a bit wounded of late. I’m baffled; relationships aren’t what they seem, people I love are hurtful, I stay connected long beyond the point of loving or healthy or safe. I’m fearful of the force of unknowns in an uncertain time. I’m depleted by the constant effort of being my own best friend. Vigilance against the impulse to shut down wears me down.

I’m determined. Intention and effort combine to manifest new roles which serve an authentic identity. I’ve been working toward this place for four years– learning who I am beyond and because of loss, yes, but also a discovery. There is a core beauty, intuition, gratitude and faith which sustains me. Laughing with my children, lying on the hammock, savoring the kiss of a man I could love, swimming in the cold ocean, the hug of a lifelong friend– Grace reminds me every day how abundant and precious and fortunate my life is and creates the desire to fling my heart open wide.

As in my yoga practice, I struggle in life to find the sweet spot between strong and stretchy. I get glimpses of it. On retreat in Mexico, yoga and love brought me out of the shadows of cynicism, fear, defeat. Challenged gently to keep my heart open, by meditation and conversation and kindness, I went into my yoga practice vulnerable yet mindful of every sensation. The sound of the ocean just beyond the studio doors, the grit on my mat from days walking barefoot, the tenderness in my body from challenging it over the course of a week to stretch and bend and twist, the breath of my community practicing in unison; all vivid yet secondary to the quiet within as I moved without any thought beyond breathing in and breathing out. Toward the end of my practice, my teacher came and wordlessly shifted my body out of the modified version of my forward bend. I focused on her deliberate breathing in time with me. As she lay along my back, she whispered, “it’s about trust” and moved my head to the floor into a full expression of this asana; which I’d never experienced. In that moment, the essence of me existed in eventide. Peace: my mind, body and spirit met the split second homeostasis which would draw me toward eternity. I know it is possible.

And so, I’m realizing that there is nothing to do. The compulsion to draw inward, to protect myself, to flee, can exist alongside the impulse to acknowledge everyday blessing, to follow love, to rejoice. I’ve been trying to choose. I’ve been simultaneously compelled to hold tight and resist or to let go and allow: swinging the pendulum between too strong and too stretchy. The lesson is this: breathe. Forget trying to manifest some outcome. Forget trying to modify or create or coerce or discern. Breathe. Stay focused. Trust the steps I’m taking toward my dreams. Meditate, pray, practice yoga. Savor friendship and my boys and chocolate. Write down the things which make me sad or scared and then burn them in a ritual of release. Write down the things which make me smile or say ‘thank you’ to the universe and read them every day. Be a wise trout. And in that stillness, trust. Love, community and circumstances will collide with intuition, identity and grace; resulting in that moment when all is in perfect balance. It is enough.


Posted May 5, 2011 by wisetrout
Categories: children, poems, words

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The following are attempts to create poems about the birth of my boys, written as part of a project for grad school…the only writing I’m doing these days…

Middle of the night water flowing
Dawn breaks after a slow walk in the morning mist
Carrying a blue sky Strawberry festival day
And the intensity of anticipation and effort
Vivaldi and honey-laced ice
the large soft hands of a capable shepherd
Trust and surrender to the
Welcome cries of eagle-lion
Myth and magic and mystery become
Divinity in my arms

Jupiter rising within my impatient belly
It’s today! I think
But then re-think when everything stops
And the midwife decides not to come
Hours of disappointed inaction and I hardly
Notice when I start laboring again and
By the time I start paying attention it’s
Chaos and it’s just you and me little Jupiter
No time for conscious support it’s primal as
My body and my baby take over
A cacophony of action until twelve minutes after
The midwife arrives
You arrive
Time stops
Music stops
As the universe makes room for
This unspeakable love